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Tom Carson


  • Outlandos D'Amour

    On the Police's debut album, Outlandos d'Amour, lead vocalist/bassist Sting sings in a sleight-of-hand variety of styles: there's a high-pitched quaver reminiscent of Ray Davies on the love songs, some Jamaican patois trotted out for the reggae cuts, a bit of Roger Daltrey's phlegm-that-swallowed-Kansas howling for a big rabble-rouser like "Born in the 50's." Sting […]

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  • The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle

    "Follow me!" Johnny Rotten screams at the climax of the stunning live version of "Anarchy in the U.K." included on The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle. It's an exalted, spine-chilling challenge that brings back all the awe and terror the Sex Pistols were capable of inspiring during their brief and violent existence. There wasn't anything […]

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  • From The Inside

    If anyone could pull off a concept album about life in a sanitarium, it's Alice Cooper, the man who turned dead-baby jokes into high-school national anthems and made a whole career of exactly the kind of comic grotesqueness the new LP promises. And From the Inside isn't an obvious failure: the songs are full of […]

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  • Live Bootleg

    With the passage of time, even the truly monstrous becomes bearable, maybe even enjoyable in a perverse sort of way. On their first record in 1973 Aerosmith came on like a really dumb heavy-metal band with borrowed Led Zeppelin chops and a lead singer who aped every garage-band Mick Jagger move in the book. Now, […]

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  • Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo

    What's Most Impressive about Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! is its authority: Devo presents their dissociated, chillingly cerebral music as a definitive restatement of rock & roll's aims and boundaries in the Seventies. The band's cover version of "Satisfaction," for instance, with its melody line almost completely erased and the lyrics […]

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  • Stage

    Though Stage was obviously put together for purely commercial reasons — to regain for the Thin White Duke the audience he's lost since becoming the Thin White Computer — it's a curiously uncompromising album. With the exception of the furiously energetic "Hang On to Yourself," the Ziggy Stardust songs designed to suck in the dollars […]

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  • M.I.U. Album

    M.I.U. Album completes a kind of informal trilogy for the Beach Boys — a cycle begun by Brian Wilson's widely ballyhooed, confusing and ultimately some-what botched return to an active role inside the group with 15 Big Ones in 1976. The new record has little of the derivative, heavy-handed rock & roll revisionism that characterized […]

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  • Heartbreaker

    In the year since Dolly Parton's widely publicized crossover from the country genre to the MOR mainstream, the quality of her music has gone dramatically downhill while her fame vaults toward the tinsel regions of instant media celebrity. Actually, the quality hasn't gone downhill as much as it's disappeared completely. The only thing Parton's current […]

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  • You're Gonna Get It!

    Petty's achievement is all the more remarkable because he's basically working in a mainstream style, mining the obsessions and quirks beneath the sentimental conventions of Seventies pop

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  • Before and After Science

    Before and After Science is being touted as Brian Eno's most commercial album, and with some reason: it's a graceful, seductively melodic work, and side one even kicks off with a neat little disco riff. But this view also confuses the issue. People who think of Eno solely in terms of the static, artsy instrumentals […]

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